Two Years discussed on Purity Products


So much last week you introduced us to the organization you leave Macedonian ministry how did it get started it got started about a decade ago Tom cousins who is a Presbyterian elder and a prominent citizen of Atlanta I had a conviction to try to both break the cycle of generational poverty in America and renew the church of Jesus Christ to very small goals he enlisted the Reverend Tom tool to try to calm and start this organization that would focus on gathering pastors together in cohorts to strengthen them and their congregations and you were a church pastor for a good number of years before you took up this job two years ago what drew you to Macedonia ministry I love parish ministry thoroughly completely and without reservation and never thought I would do anything until the end of my career except be a parish pastor I had been in a cohort for Macedonia and when I was serving in Asheville North Carolina and saw in that group the my fourteen colleagues ally in our cohort what an amazing difference it made in the lives of each of us each cord has a facilitator that we train and deploy for these cohorts and our facilitator was amazing as well and that led me into getting to know some of the larger organization and seeing the impact in city after city after city so when the call came after a lot of prayer and consideration I thought this would be a good culmination to my time in ministry excellent then you were involved in a number of other initiatives focusing on the future of the church and we hear so many in the church lament the decline of American Christianity what's your take my take is it's time to stop the language of managing the client and instead embrace what god is doing I believe humbly that god is actively disestablished saying the church of Jesus Christ from our culture kind of taking a crowbar and getting us apart from that so that we can be the faithful robust group we need to be I know that strikes all of us at times as very difficult and very painful but I believe it's from god it's coming from too many angles to many it's not just a demographic thing that's going on and if it's from god we need to accept it with gratitude and any gift from god leads us to joy and so I think our call is not to manage decline is to be joyful even in these challenging times what would you say more about this establishing the church from the culture what is that look like how are we so established in the culture that we're not doing the job we're no longer on the on the front page of newspapers or no longer on the front page of magazines if people are actually reading newspapers and magazines we're no longer being called on as a church to be one of the first comments on the issues of the day I think the church is being called earn our place at the civic table and then continue to reach people it's also difficult because frankly in many places not all and I know robust ministries of every kind and place faithfully doing their work across the country but we've also been in aggregate a fairly tepid delivery system for spiritual values over the last several decades we've gotten ourselves distracted by management and organization and intramural fighting which to someone who does not know faith they're not going to they're not going to wait to see who's wearing what Jersey and who's doing what they just see those people are arguing all move on to find meeting elsewhere it's time for that to stop in for us to embrace or opportunity to share this life giving gospel with people who need it so how did it start for you had did you experience you're calling to ministry I graduated from the university region yeah not at all sure what I wanted to do but it had some people thinking about the texture day I've had my own cloud of witnesses who have shown me what faithful looks like lived out and while I I was sort of dragged into it first very reluctantly the minute I began working at a church I experience the wonder and joy of being able to be with people at some of their highest moments in Los moments and felt that the church was an essential part not only of my life but maybe something I can help others with well your sermon this week picks up from where we were in the letter to Hebrews last week in Hebrews eleven and twelve would you read the text force yes thanks what more should I say for time would fail me to tell of Gideon Barack Sampson job for of David and Samuel in the profits who through faith conquered kingdoms administer justice obtain promises shot the miles of lions quench raging fire escape the edge of the sword one strength out of weakness became mighty in war put foreign armies to flight women received their dead by resurrection others were tortured refusing to accept release in order to obtain a better resurrection others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment they were stoned to death they were sawn into they were killed by the sword they went about and scans of sheep and goats destitute persecuted tormented of whom the world was not worthy they wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground yeah all these will be recommended for their faith did not receive what was promised since god had provided something better so that they would not apart from us be made perfect therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross disregarding it shame and is taking his seat at the right hand of the throne of god and what more should I say the writer begins here making a powerful case for faith what struck you especially as you prepare this message the highs and the lows of faith in the experience that we are not the first people to have gone through this one of my favorite ways to begin a personal statement of faith is I am not my own idea and I think that is powerful you displayed here not only am I not my own idea but my experience of faith has been traveled by countless faithful women and men before me and it would be arrogant at least to think that I'm experiencing something that others haven't we all have something to learn from those who have gone before us and showed us the way mark last week you title your sermon today you've title this week's sermon tomorrow.

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